Summertime is here! This is the season when Portland truly shows off her splendor. Sure, winterime and the dreary gray days are part of the core of our character. While enduring the winter season makes us the resilient people we are, summer around these parts is all about fun in the sun!
When friends and family come to town, it can sometimes be overwhelming to host them. Between your own work, daily responsibilities and household chores, it is challenging to also plan for guests.
Don’t worry, we’ll make it easy! What should you do with friends and family who are visiting Portland? Here are some of our favorite ideas!
1) Oregon Day Trips
If you need a visitor break to catch up on work, a day trip centered around a cool destination is the perfect way for your guests to be entertained for a full day. Enjoy breakfast together, then send them on their way.
If you are able to go with your visitors, a day trip is like a mini vacation filled with relaxing time spent with friends and loved ones.
Cannon Beach, wine country and Hood River/The Gorge all make for excellent day trips without having to drive too far out of the city.
2) The Best Shopping in Downtown Portland
Ditch the car and take the MAX or the bus into downtown Portland for an easy day of strolling around. Portland is filled with museums, galleries and independent businesses that you just won’t find elsewhere.
Everyone loves Powell’s Books and a visit to this gigantic bookstore is a must-do! Plan for at least an hour there, two for the true bookworms. Sink into the relaxing, quiet aisle, flip through books and browse the expertly selected staff recommendations.
For other shopping options, check out the many independent clothing and jewelry boutiques like Betsy & Iya, Wildfang, Say Say, Bridge and Burn, Vintalier, Mercantile and Frances May. There are also plenty of uniquely Portland shops specializing in regional items like Made Here PDX and Crafty Wonderland.
When you need a break from the retail, swing by a coffee shop to rest your feet and enjoy a treat.
Lunch is a no brainer! Head to the food carts on Alder between 9th and 10th - a huge collection of tasty lunchtime options that have long been popular with the downtown work crowd. Bring your takeaway to nearby Director Park for a relaxing lunch by the water feature, or head over to Pioneer Courthouse Square, affectionately known as Portland’s Living Room. Pioneer Square is the perfect spot to people-watch and catch specialty events, like the Noon Tunes summer concert series.
3) Jump Into the River
Portland has several public beaches including Audrey McCall and Poet’s Beach downtown, and Broughton Beach on Marine Drive. These rustic beaches are an easy way to slip into the river without going far from home.
Alder Creek offers kayak, canoe and stand up paddle board rentals at several locations around the city (including George Rogers Park). Taking a slow paddle through a regional lake or river can be a wonderful way to soak in the scenery and view wildlife. Bring a picnic and stop along the way.
If you prefer to take the easier route, consider the Willamette Jetboat Excursions! These wild boats whiz up and down the Willamette River from the boat launch near OMSI. And while the boat rides are filled with adventure (you will get sprayed with a little water along the way), there is more to the ride than simply thrills. The expert boat captains will divulge intriguing river facts and as you tour scenic points of interest along the way.
4) Meander Portland’s Retail Districts
Portland is famous for its retail districts packed with independent shops, stylish cafes and delicious restaurants. Park the car and spend a day wandering Mississippi Avenue, The Alberta Arts District or funky Hawthorne Avenue. Pop in and out of shops, stop for bites, maybe even settle into an outdoor happy hour.
A day ambling along one compact stretch is a fantastic way to explore hidden gems you may have overlooked when passing by at faster speeds. These neighborhood-based regions offer a glimpse into the daily life of Portlanders, an authentic way for your visitors to experience the city.
5) Farmer’s Markets
If it’s summertime, there’s a farmer’s market nearly every day of the week - Mondays are the only exception. There are more than 50 farmers markets spread throughout the Portland metro region.
Grab a cup of coffee, your market basket and bring your appetite; it’s so delightful to browse the fresh produce, stop for a snack, talk with the farmers and shop for whatever is in season.
6) Best Hikes in Portland
Whether you want a short hike or an all-day adventure, a flat easy walk or something more challenging, there is certainly a hike for you. Check out a hiking guide book from the library, borrow one from a friend or select your favorite at Powells. The trails are endless!
Explore Portland Like a Tourist
Hosting visitors can be exhausting, but it’s also an entertaining way to experience the city from a different perspective. Have fun showing off our city’s finer points, indulging in excellent food and turning off your computer for the day as you share time with friends, family and loved ones.